This collection of hundreds of anecdotes illustrates the rules and values which helped Colin Powell rise to the highest ranks of military leadership. Not merely a primer on what it means to be a good leader, It Worked for Me, is an intimate walk through the life of a military man who also helped shape a great deal of foreign policy in recent history.
With reminiscences of encounters from Reagan to Princess Diana to foreign heads of state, the book delivers a treasure trove of interesting and unique experiences which are sure to whet the palate of any political reader.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman (2008)
Friedman discusses the past 40 years of world energy use. This book will help you understand the need for clean energy even if you don’t care about the issue.
The author explains the history of the Middle East oil regulation. Most importantly, you’ll be shocked by the energy use that will be required by the exploding populations of China and India.
Enjoy learning about energy in an informative way. I was surprised that this was not a boring book and was a fast way to understand energy for the future.
Watch Friedman discuss his book.
Vienna 1814: how the conquerors of Napoleon made love, war, and peace at the Congress of Vienna by David King (2008)
After defeating Napoleon in 1814, the European powers convened in Vienna to determine the fate of Europe. The Congress of Vienna turned into the party of the century; royalty and diplomats traveled to represent their countries, but courtesans, tradesmen and others flocked to Vienna to get a piece of the pie.
Instead of being an open meeting of dignitaries, the Congress became a cesspool of backstabbing, underhanded dealings, and romantic liaisons. After six months of squabbling (accomplishing little), Europe had a bigger problem: Napoleon escaped Elba.
Read about how this seemingly unproductive conference led to the Battle of Waterloo, and how that led to a “spirit of cooperation” that remains unsurpassed.
Visit RandomHouse.com to read an excerpt, reviews, and more.
Shadow Warriors by Tom Clancy (2002)
Written with substantial contributions by General Carl Stiner and Tony Koltz and read by Jonathan Marosz, this is the story of America’s Special Forces. The stories include the US embassy bombing in Beirut, the hijacking of TWA 847, the murder of political officer William Buckley, the Achille Lauro, Egypt Air 648, operations in Afghanistan and Somalia and the capture of Noriega. General Stiner and the Special Forces are tough customers and you’ll be glad they’re on our side. This book makes you proud of our Special Forces soldiers.
Check out the reviews at Amazon.com and read an excerpt at Penguin’s website.
How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein (2008)
Ever wonder why the Upper Peninsula of Michigan extends over Wisconsin? Or why so many of the western states have a similar shape and size? Or why Texas is so huge and West Virginia so funny looking? Author Mark Stein explores the reasoning behind the shape of each state.
It’s an interesting book, though not one you’d read start to finish. Stein has chapters on each state – I’d recommend reading a few chapters at a time. The book is filled with trivia and history and political shenanigans (and plenty of maps). Get a fresh perspective on events in American history and learn why Wisconsin always got the short end of the stick.
Browse the book, read reviews and information about the author from HarperCollins.com, and listen to an author interview from NPR’s “OnPoint.”
Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman (2008)
Thomas L. Friedman, winner of three Pulitzer prizes, has written another great book. Much like his last book, The World is Flat, this book looks at the big world picture and the changes and dynamics taking place. Using exhaustive research data, he paints his picture of a world where globalization, a growing population, and global warming are converging and bringing us to an alarming situation. His call is for the United States to lead the world in making far reaching changes to make our world sustainable and environmentally safe. If you enjoyed The World Is Flat, you’ll find this book another winner from Friedman.
Visit the author’s website, read a review at Salon.com, and listen to an interview at NPR.
America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart (2004)
Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show fame, has written a very funny book that might also teach you something about the way our government works. However, some readers may be offended by some of the crude language used throughout the book.
You can read an excerpt, listen to segments on NPR, or go to Amazon.com to read an interview and watch a video message.